To use a condom, or not to use a condom? This is a question that eventually comes up in most intimate relationships. Even if both parties agree to safe sex in the beginning, there usually comes a point when one or both partners want to skip the prophylactic. After all, most people agree that sex feels better without it.
I recently asked a friend who occasionally has more than one partner if and when he has unprotected sex. His response: “I just can’t have sex without a condom. There is no way.”
As I write this blog, I’m sitting in a bar. I just asked my waiter the same question. His answer:
“After being in a relationship for three to four years, I would feel comfortable having unprotected sex.” I asked whether HIV and/or other STD testing would be a prerequisite. “No,” he said. “Just three to four years together.”
I asked a woman sitting at a nearby table for her opinion. She said that her mate could skip the condom “after the establishment of trust,” which would come from conversations and getting to know one another over time. There was no set time limit for her.
As you can see, the answers can vary dramatically from person to person.
I have consistently felt that, before having unprotected sex with someone for the first time, it is wise to ask:
When was your last HIV test?
Are you HIV positive?
Do you currently have any other STDs that you know about?
When was the last time that you were checked for STDs?
Also, pay attention to how soon your partner is willing to have unprotected sex with you, and to his/her attitude about the issue. He/she has likely used the same decision-making process with past partners. And this is useful information for you to have.
If you really want to play it safe, you could go to a doctor together, get tested for the gambit of STDs, and openly share your results. Even then, there’s a possibility that you’ll miss something, because it takes a while for the HIV antibodies to present themselves. And you can’t know for sure whether your partner will continue risking it with other people, potentially catching something. But it’s still a great step towards protecting yourself.
Hey, they’re your genitals; you can protect them as you see fit. But a Powerful Person in a Partnership looks out for him/herself – and that means taking steps to stay healthy.
So, what are your thoughts? How do you determine if or when to have unprotected intercourse with a sexual partner?
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